Kukla's Korner

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The Butterfly Style

from Glenn Healy of CBC,

Goaltending styles evolve over time. Some of this evolution is based on the success of goalies who have a certain style that gives them success and then other goalies play the copycat game.

Patrick Roy had great success with the butterfly style and most of the goalies coming out of Quebec emulated his style. The emergence of the butterfly goalie is not just about copying a Hall of Famer like Roy, but related to a host of issues that created the drop-and-block style. 

In the late 1980’s, goaltending equipment was revolutionized. Heavy and bulky pads stuffed with deer hair were replaced with light foam pads. Pads went from 12 pounds a pair to four and that is significant.

This allowed goalies to be more mobile and lengthened many careers. Goalies could remain mobile as they approached their mid 30’s, allowing them to make east-west type saves.

Bigger goalies obviously cover more net. But with the heavy pads of the 80’s, they had trouble with movement. Welcome the newer lighter pads and big goalies could become quick and big.

Size and quickness is a great combination and it is now the trend in the NHL to have big goalies who cover a ton of net and can move east to west.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Hockey Equipment, | KK Hockey | Permalink



The drop and block butterfly was effective pre-lockout.  When a shooter got in a lane, clutch and grab, kept them in the lane. Once stuck in the lane, block was effective.

Post lockout, that butterfly style is not as effective as the athletic read and react butterfly style.  Exemplified best by the Finns.  I cite Patrick Lalime and Marc Dennis as two Quebec goalies whose style never caught up with the game.

Here is a video of Jussi Rynnss in his native Finnish style from a few years ago

compare with a number of recent clips to see the change in his style.

Posted by Cubanpuckstopper on 03/30/12 at 02:19 PM ET


Also the size of leg pads make this the most dominate and effective style of goaltending today. Just look at how much of the net they can cover with todays pads, try scoring along the ice when they drop into the butterfly. Its way over due that the NHL streamline the gear. Its become a joke.

Posted by pat oneill from yonkers ny on 03/30/12 at 03:51 PM ET


Why does a goalie need 38 inch pads, to protect his thighs which are already protected by his goalie pants? No the current formula of measuring bottom of foot to middle of the knee plus 55 percent from mid knee to hip plus 4 inches is a complete and utter disgrace. This formula was proposed to shrink the pads yet allowed many goalies to wear bigger pads   that they were already allowed to wear.  Until this changes the butterfly is here to stay.

Posted by pat oneill from yonkers ny on 03/30/12 at 04:07 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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